June 20, 2014 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese riot police on Friday have fired tear gas to disperse popular protests against government’s intension to sell public lands at Al-Hamadab neighbourhood, south of the capital Khartoum.
Earlier this month, police also used tear gas and batons to disperse protests in the suburbs of al-Rumaila and Allambab in south Khartoum to express their rejection against the state government’s intention to sell one of the public squares.
On June 8, one person was also killed as a result of suffocation after the police fired tear gas to disperse protesters in the southern neighbourhoods of Khartoum who demonstrated against continuous interruptions in water service.
One of the protests organizers, who preferred to stay anonymous, told Sudan Tribune that a demonstration broke out following Friday prayer in Al-Hamadab neighbourhood to protest intension of the authorities to sell the land being used by the Armoured Corps of the Sudanese army which residents claim its ownership.
He said the police surrounded Al-Hamadab neighbourhood and fired tear gas heavily, pointing the police chased protesters inside the old neighbourhood.
Eyewitnesses said that Al-Hamadab youths set old tires on fire in the main street in order to prevent riot police vehicles from entering the neighbourhood.
The inhabitants of the capital accuse the state governments since under the regime of president Omer al-Bashir of selling public spaces and squares in Khartoum’s neighbourhoods to influential members of the ruling party or their companies, pointing to corruption and abuse of power.
Much of Khartoum has been dealing with water cuts over the last three months, as the country faces high temperatures and power outages. Khartoum Water Corporation (KWC) attributed failure to meet customers’ obligations to the rising cost of operation.
Khartoum state on Wednesday suggested an increase on water fees, a move which is expected to add to the growing discontent towards the KWC.
Several MPs backed fees rise and demanded authorities to take the necessary measures to prevent who they called “opposition and villains” from exploiting the crisis.